Workplace accidents are a concern year-round but can crop up even more during the winter months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace accidents are responsible for 15 percent of all accidental deaths per year and account for 25 percent of all reported injury claims and more than 95 million lost workdays per year.
Snow and rain that gets tracked in during the winter can create wet and slippery walking conditions that can lead to slips, trips and falls. And wet or icy surfaces outside the building are also concerns. Other workplace conditions can make surfaces unsafe, including greasy floors, wood dust or powder, loose flooring or mats, uneven tiles and bricks, lack of handrails, and sloped walking surfaces, among others.
Five ways to make your workplace a safer place
You can help your workers avoid slips, trips and falls when you take the following precautions:
- Practice good housekeeping. Regular cleaning and maintenance is key to keeping surfaces in good working (and walking) order. Keep a cleaning schedule and stick with it. Assign responsibilities to your workers to complete during and at the end of shifts. Daily and weekly cleaning practices also help.
- Add traction to slippery surfaces. Parking lots, sidewalks, food prep areas, and floors, in general, can become slippery due to water, snow, ice, and mud. Traction control such as salting outdoor walkways, and adhesive striping material or anti-skid paint to indoor flooring can also help. Another tactic is adding moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas. In some cases, you may want to restrict the use of an area if it’s too slippery, using caution cones and “wet floor” signs.
- Keep aisles and walkways free of clutter. All walkways and passageways should be clean and orderly. Avoid leaving clutter, boxes or any debris in areas where people will be walking.
- Use proper lighting. To avoid falls, people need adequate illumination to see where they’re going. Ensure the adequate amount of lumens by checking with your building maintenance provider for compliance with all codes. Make sure light switches are easily accessible, and repair any damaged or broken lighting fixtures.
- Require proper footwear. Work shoes should have non-slip soles. Require all workers to wear the right footwear. Consider covering the cost of footwear with a company uniform allowance.
Manage your company’ risk
Maintaining a safe workplace is just one step. It also helps to assess your risk so you can keep your business protected. And Odell Studner can help. Check with us about a risk assessment to help you get and stay on track!